Edd Hardie was born in 1949, and grew up on the islands of Penobscot Bay, primarily on Deer Isle. He was the son of a fisherman, but he realized at a young age that his father’s occupation was not for him.
“I worked with my father one summer,” Edd recalls. “I remember looking at him one day and saying, ‘Please Dad, don’t make me do this for a living.’”
Edd attended Deer Isle High School before joining the U.S. Army in 1966, at 17 years of age. Following basic training, he received training to become an Army cook and then headed for his first assignment to Berlin, Germany. It was the height of the Cold War, and tensions in that city were running high. Edd remembers his family being apprehensive about being stationed at the "Iron Curtain," but it turned out to be a great assignment. “It was a huge change going from a small Maine island to one of Europe’s biggest cities, but I ended up loving it,” he says.
Edd spent three years in Berlin before receiving orders for Fort Polk, Louisiana. Upon returning to the U.S., he married his high school sweetheart. Edd decided to reenlist for the chance to serve in the Army’s Southern Command. Edd ended up serving in Panama for three years, and liked it so much that he extended his time there for an additional eight months. Two of his three children were born in Panama.
After Panama, Edd was stationed at Fort Eustis, were he continued his career as an Army cook. During his free-time he pursued his interest in baking by taking a cake-decorating course—something he discovered he loved doing and was good at. His cakes soon became highly regarded at Fort Eustis and he was asked to male a special cake for General Orlando Gonzales on the occasion of his receiving his second star. The cake was spectacular and was a huge hit at the event. Edd received word that General Gonzales wanted to see him. “He thanked me and told me I’d be rewarded for my effort,” Edd recalls.
That event turned out to be important to Edd’s military career. At his next assignment, back in Germany, Edd was called to the commanding officer’s office. The commander had read the words of praise that General Gonzales inserted in Edd’s file. He asked Edd to take over running the officer’s club. “The club had been losing money, but I ran it for three years and we turned a profit every year,” Edd says proudly.
Later, Edd successfully ran the officer’s club at Fort Sill. In 1983, after 17 years of service, Edd received a medical discharge due to his increasing health problems. Edd and his family returned to Maine, where he received treatment from the VA. Settling in Orland, Edd eventually became a school bus driver and later a driving instructor. During that time, he developed a close relationship with George Stevens Academy (GSA) in Blue Hill. For 21 years Edd volunteered with GSA's sports teams, and contributed to the renovation of the GSA gym. Edd’s has several handmade quilts in his room, presented to him for his contributions to GSA.
Edd’s generous spirit is very evident at MVH Bangor where he spearheads raffles for the home’s Alzheimer’s work. In addition, he can always be counted on to help fellow residents with their problems and to make new residents feel welcome and comfortable.
Maine Veterans’ Homes is an independent nonprofit organization serving Maine’s veterans and families. For more information, contact Maine Veterans’ Homes online or give us a call at 800-278-9494. We also welcome you and your family to explore employment or volunteer opportunities with us.
Maine Veterans’ Homes…Caring For Those Who Served!